Do Perceptions Become Reality? Exploring Principals’ Perceptions, Schools’ SRO/Police Presence, and Student Discipline Reporting Policies
26 Pages Posted: 27 Apr 2021 Last revised: 12 Jul 2021
Date Written: April 26, 2021
While recent scholarship generally emphasizes how public school principals’ perceptions influence various school safety practices, far less is understood about how principals’ perceptions of school crime risk and academic climate informs schools’ decisions on specific school safety outcomes, including a school’s SRO/police presence and policies on whether to report student disciplinary incidents to law enforcement agencies. Using data drawn from the 2017–18 School Survey on Crime and Safety and 2,500 public schools in the United States, this study examines these questions. The results make clear that the influence of principals’ perceptions vary across different school safety outcomes. Equally important is that the variation appears to be non-random. While the uneven salience of principals’ perceptions does not necessarily dilute their importance to school policies, it does underscore the need for a more granular accounting and understanding of how various important school-level safety outcomes arise.
Keywords: crime risk, school safety, principals’ perceptions, academic climate
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